Celtic defender Jozo Simunovic has confirmed on Instagram that he has undergone knee surgery, which is expected to keep him sidelined for a considerable amount of time.
The 25-year-old centre-back has made seven appearances this season, all coming in European qualification. The Croatian star missed the first two Scottish Premiership matches of the campaign because of suspension.
But he last played in the first leg against Swedish side AIK on August 22, with the knee injury since ruling him out. Now, he has undergone surgery after Neil Lennon confirmed he would go under the knife to have a “clean out”.
Simunovic confirmed as much on his Instagram story on Tuesday, posting a picture from a hospital bed with the caption “I’ll be back”. It is a huge blow to Celtic, with Lennon left with just Kris Ajer, Jack Hendry and Christopher Jullien at centre-back.
TBR’s view – Lennon must find alternatives to cope with Celtic schedule
With Celtic set to embark on a Europa League group stage beginning on Thursday – which includes trips to Italy, France and Romania, the schedule is gruelling. Celtic have four matches still to play this month, and six in October.
Hendry has been frozen out of Celtic’s side, leaving just Jullien and Ajer as viable options. Suspension, injury and fatigue are expected, so Lennon must find more options at centre-back.
Nir Bitton is certainly one player that can drop into the backline, while Hatem Abd Elhamed can also be used at the heart of the defence. But another option may have to be considered.